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Press Reviews regarding the State of the Union address and Murat Kurnaz

German Politicians Praise Bush's Climate Change Initiatives: "German politicians reacted positively on the whole to Bush's State of the Union address, welcoming what they saw as a new pragmatism and praising his climate change initiatives."

Shadow Creeping Over Steinmeier: "German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is in the firing line over whether he blocked the release of a German-born -- and innocent -- Guantánamo prisoner in 2002. The affair could turn ugly for him and the German government, write German media commentars. Meanwhile the German papers wonder what is to be done in Lebanon to stop Beirut burning."
For some background on Murat Kurnaz see the Atlantic Review post The Guantanamo detainee from Germany.

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Thank you for the many interesting debates in the comments section. The following recent posts let to the most comments: 25 comments so far at Productivity Growth and Foreign Trade balances in the EU and the U.S.47 comments so far at Europe refuses to cut

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JW-Atlantic Review on :

Are the German media and politicians not so Anti-American after all?

David on :

Joerg, Your post is misleading: yes, there was some cheering for Bush's (belated)acknowledgment of climate issues. But there was also strong criticism of his "surge" strategy in Iraq. Nevertheless, this criticism should not be viewed as "anti-American" since it merely echoes the criticism of war escalation from nearly everyone in America except for the Bush loyalists on the authoritarian right.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Obviously I have not read and listened to every German commentary on the speech, but it is my impression that most observers focused on Bush's climate and energy statements, because they have criticized the "surge" already a few weeks ago, when Bush announced it first. Perhaps I am wrong, but it is my impression that Germans have not criticized the "surge" as much as liberal Americans have. I think, most Germans are more concerned than liberal Americans re a quick US withdrawal and the further escalation of the civil war. I think several German observers suggested that parts of the new Iraq strategy (for example: providing security rather than hunting down insurgents) are the right change, but too late. And 20,000 additional soldiers won't make much of a difference so late in time anyway. Besides, as the above Spiegel article pointed out, Pres Bush gets "good grades" for assessing the situation in Iraq correctly and for not talking about the "axis of evil" and such things: For Eckart von Klaeden, the foreign policy spokesman for the conservatives -- made up of the Christian Democrats and Christian Social Union -- in the Bundestag, the president's speech was "on the whole quite reserved." While much of it focused on domestic issues, even those parts dealing with foreign policy were notable for their moderation -- avoiding such terms as "axis of evil," he said. "In justifying the war in Iraq and the continuation of an American presence, a slight shift was noticeable that indirectly distanced him from earlier explanations," Klaeden said. He emphatically supported Bush's assessment of the Iraq situation. In his opinion, Bush made it clear that an uncontrolled and over-hasty withdrawal from Iraq would increase the danger of an implosion and a regional war. The CDU politician referred to the passage in which the president talked about the dangers of Shiite extremism. "We really have to keep an eye on that with growing concern," Klaeden said, citing the situation in Iraq, the Hezbollah-led protests in Lebanon, and the dangers ensuing from Iran's nuclear program.

2020 on :

Ran across news that forces in Afghanistan expect guerrillas to intensify insurgency soon, due to the mild winter. 10 dead in Kabul. Bush also concerned about the climate warming, now...

David on :

"Perhaps I am wrong, but it is my impression that Germans have not criticized the "surge" as much as liberal Americans have. I think, most Germans are more concerned than liberal Americans re a quick US withdrawal and the further escalation of the civil war." 65% of all Americans oppose the surge - this is not just a position of "liberal Americans". Have you followed the resolution now being proposed by Senator Warner (R-Virginia)? Also, Chuck Hagel is one of the most conservative Republicans in the senate; I have never heard anyone so impassioned in his opposition to this escalation. Also, if "most Germans" are concerned that a US withdrawal will escalate the civil war, why aren't they advocating direct EU involvement? If they believe that injecting additional troops into a secetarian civil war is good thing, why aren't they offering troops of their own? How many more young Americans will have to die in this hellish debacle?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

You are right. I was wrong. It's not just liberal Americans. However, there are different degrees of opposition to the surge. Some are completely against the surge and want to prevent it from happening. Others are against the surge, but do not want to prevent it from happening. Consequently the resolution is pretty weak and non-binding. Am I supposed to take this resolution as a serious opposition to the surge? I guess, I should, but I find it difficult to take it serious as a strong opposition. If Congress would be strongly against the surge, then they could stop the funding of the war, couldn't they? Then Congress would be accused of not supporting the troops. Therefore, they won't do that. Apparently, some Democrats wanted a stronger resolution, but other Democrats and Republicans did not want that: Wash Post: [i]Democratic divisions were also on display, with the most ardent antiwar voices pleading for more dramatic action. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) tried to amend the nonbinding resolution with firm legislative language capping troop levels in Iraq at January levels, around 137,500. "This is not a time for legislative nuancing," said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.). "This is not a time for trying to forge a compromise that everybody can be a part of. This is a time to stop the needless deaths of American troops in Iraq." But the Dodd amendment was defeated, 15 to 6, with five Democrats joining all Republicans in opposition. The committee's partisan vote strengthened the hand of Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) and a bipartisan group of senators backing a less forceful resolution of opposition.[/i] [url]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/24/AR2007012400181.html[/url] You write: "How many more young Americans will have to die in this hellish debacle?" I hear you. I wish they could all come home immediately. But what if the hellish debacle gets worse and the US then has to return and more young Americans have to die then? And what about the Iraqis after the US withdraws? Don't you agree that the US has a moral responsibility concerning Iraqis? What is your opinion regarding Dr. Kleinfeld's concern: "Given that an India like partition-massacre is likely to occur when we leave, I am frustrated by how little conversation I hear on any side of the political spectrum about whether we have a responsibility to the citizens of Iraq. We may well be serving that responsibility (and the same responsibility to our own troops) by pulling out--but I want to hear us talking about it in a serious way." And David Rothkopf, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment, argues: "Even If We Leave Now, We'll Be Back!" " [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/560-Gratitude,-Gambling,-and-Moral-Response-President-Bush-and-Others-About-Iraq.html[/url] Hm, I guess you think that the US serves that moral responsibility by pulling out, but I am not so sure and apparently the US congress is neither...

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